Interest in exoskeleton and cobotic tech is growing as processing plants look for new ways to improve safety, broaden their workforce capability and improve production outcomes, but knowing what to look for can be a challenge in this rapidly evolving space.
AMPC has partnered with Risk and Injury Management Services on a research project, with the final report serving as a guide for processors looking for tech options to provide aids or support rehabilitation for staff.
Many technologies have been developed on the back of initial applications in a wide range of industries including medical rehabilitation and prosthetics, so one of the goals of the project was to understand which existing tech could be used in processing, and how.
The final report offers advice on a broad range of considerations from quality assurance to safety and hygiene. It also includes step-by-step information setting up and using various technologies.
AMPC Program Manager Amanda Carter says the final report is the output from our exoskeleton research project where we initially used 10 exoskeleton units to assess industry appetite. These were on display at the AMPC Innovation Showcase last year and our team showcased them with individual processing sites.
Under the project a number of different types have been assessed, one particular type, the ‘iron hand’ glove system is one that has the potential to be revolutionary and will require further research. The iron hand improves grip strength for applications like holding knives.
“The project was then expanded to include a total of 21 units. The guide offers comprehensive insights not only into the products themselves but also the companies behind them, so processors can make informed decisions about what will work in their operation, and other elements to think about before investing,” she says.
At this stage, the devices most suited to short-to-medium term use by processors include powered gloves, trunk and shoulder devices, and thumb splints.
The final report can be found on the AMPC website.
For more information, contact Amanda Carter at A.Carter@ampc.com.au